Local and state officials are celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Thursday blocking President Donald Trump's administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, protecting undocumented young immigrants from deportation.
The program established by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2012 currently protects nearly 650,000 young people who arrived in the United States as children, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Becerra represented the state of California in one of the lawsuits challenging the termination of the programs.
University of California President Janet Napolitano, who filed another of the lawsuits, called the ruling "a victory for hundreds of thousands of young people who are making vital contributions to their families, schools, employers, and the nation."
About 30 cars full of families celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision held a caravan that began at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and went through the streets of San Jose.
Cecilia Chavez is a DACA recipient who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was five. Her parents needed U.S. medical care to save her brother’s life. In the past few months, her future after 26 years on American soil was uncertain.
“I turned on the TV and I saw ‘DACA lives,’” she said. “I just broke down because we’ve been living with this shadow over our heads for the past few months.”
“It meant I’m able to keep my job, I’m not going to be deported, I’m able to stay with my children,” Chavez said.
There are 23,000 Dreamers in the South Bay alone, where the county was heavily involved in the legal fight.
Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams, who also filed a lawsuit, said, "Today's Supreme Court decision is a victory for all Americans and a repudiation of the Trump Administration's heartless, anti-immigrant policies."
In the 5-4 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said the administration violated a federal administrative law by failing to give a "reasoned explanation" when it announced a decision to wind down the program in 2017.
The court sent the case to U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reconsider the dispute. It said the agency does have the authority to terminate the program if it gives an adequate explanation.
The high court ruled on preliminary injunctions issued by federal judges in San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C. in a total of about nine lawsuits.
Roberts said in the majority ruling that the court wasn't deciding whether terminating DACA was a sound policy. Rather, "We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action," the chief justice wrote.